May 16, 2002
COLUMBIA, SC - The top-ranked UCLA softball team opened its NCAA Tournament schedule with a 3-0 victory over Liberty on Thursday morning in Columbia, SC. The Lady Flames recorded just one hit on the day, as UCLA senior Amanda Freed became the all-time winningest pitcher in Bruin softball history, while a fifth-inning home run by first baseman Tairia Mims provided all the offense UCLA would need for the victory. The Bruins are now 50-1 on the season and will play their next game at 7 pm EDT on Friday night against an opponent that is yet to be determined. Liberty falls to 28-34, and will play an elimination game at 7 pm tonight.
Freed struck out two of the first three batters she faced, and struck out the side in the fifth inning en route to her fourth double-figure strikeout game of the 2002 season. She now has 747 career strikeouts, moving her past DeeDee Weiman into third place on UCLA's career strikeout list. She now has a 97-18 career record at UCLA.
The Bruins had at least one hit in each inning, threatening with a runner at third base in the second inning, and having Crissy Buck thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a fly ball in the fourth.
UCLA's offense opened up in the fifth inning, as Freed helped her own cause with a one-out single to left, and came home on a home run by Mims, her 12th of the season. Mims took a pitch from Lady Flame starter Jennifer Hurley over the left field fence, giving UCLA the 2-0 lead.
In the sixth, UCLA added another run, as Stephanie Ramos led off with a line-drive rocket to the pitcher that bounced back nearly to the plate for a base hit.Ramos went to second on a long foul ball out by Toria Auelua, and would score from second base on a single to center field by Natasha Watley.
Meanwhile, Freed allowed a lead-off hit to shortstop Mary Beth Kennell, who went to second on an error and advanced to third on a sacrifice. After Amanda Goc grounded out to Freed, Kennell was sent home and was thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning.
UCLA will play its next NCAA Regional game at 7 pm on Friday evening, against the winner of tomorrow's first game in the elimination bracket.